Walking is good for you. Shock horror! Imagine that.
There are many many scientific benefits to getting outside and walking just 30 minutes per day; It reduces your risk of heart disease, you lose weight, it reduces the risk of diabetes and dementia, boosts circulation, tones your muscles, strengthens your bones and can curb your food cravings.
But we don’t care about any of those side effects, do we?!?! We’re here for the mental health benefits.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin in your body that functions like a hormone. Long, sciencey descriptions short, it’s really important for your physical health (bones & teeth) but is especially important for your mental health.
Vitamin D also helps regulate the immune system and the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters impact brain function and development — and consequently, your mental health. Receptors for vitamin D have been found in regions of the brain that are also linked to depression.
These are some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency; frequent illnesses or infections, excessive fatigue, backaches and muscle pain and depression*. Note; I’m not saying that Vitamin D is a ’cause’ of or ‘cure’ for depression, just that getting enough of it alleviates some symptoms.
Vitamin D, predominantly, comes from the sun. Here’s a fact for you; On average, if you live in a first world country you will spend over 90% of your life indoors. Shocking, right? But as soon as you think about it, if you are not working outside in the sun this would ring very true. This is especially true during the winter months when we get even less sun than usual and are at risk from symptoms of S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Which is one of the reasons why all of our walks need to be outside, not on a treadmill watching infomercials.
Light exercise is a great way to tire yourself out to make sure you fall asleep on time.
Walking gives you some quiet time by yourself to think and reflect. Walking along and watching your feet can also become a beautiful meditation. If you walk in nature you also get all the stress-reducing benefits of that as well…
Time and Opportunity to do Part 3 of the Basic Reset:
You’re not there quite yet, but this 30 minute walk will be an integral part of the 5 Senses Program.
Just Do It:
How could I ever fit this into my ridiculously busy day?!?!? Prioritise it. These 100 days are for you to make a change. Choose this change, make it happen. Find the time.
Have a meeting today? Make it a walking meeting. Einstein, Steve Jobs and many others swore by them… It serves many purposes, walk out 15 minutes, turn around and walk back. It keeps meetings on time. It promotes brain function, ideas and creativity. And maybe if you keep suggesting walking meetings people will stop bothering you with unimportant meetings!
Maybe start catching public transport to work or school. Find a station/stop that’s a 15 minute walk from your home and get off at a stop a 15 minute walk away from where you work.
At Lunch Time:
Walk further afield for your lunch, then walk back. Done.
Take Your Kids For a Walk:
These are the rules, some are fixed, some are flexible;
- It must be done outside. This is a hard and fast rule. We need the Vitamin D and fresh air.
- No music. Be aware of your surrounds, clear your head, take it all in. This rule is flexible-ish now, but will become fixed when the 5 Senses program of part 3 kicks into gear.
- Go by yourself. This is a very flexible rule, so it’s more of a suggestion… Group walks, walks with friends all have some wonderful results for your mental health, but so does walking by yourself. Maybe alternate one day with friends, one day by yourself.
I hear them all, yes, it’s winter – wear a jacket, it’s raining – take an umbrella. We’re waterproof and getting wet is not the worst thing that could happen. I understand that stuff happens and there will be an email explaining this in a few days time but just know this now; it’s ok to miss a day if stuff happens, but never miss two. And to clarify, ‘stuff happening’ means that something outside of your control has prevented you from being able to complete your walk for the day. Something outside of your control has stopped you from making the change that you are determined to make. Missing a day is not ok if you simply choose to miss a day.
So that’s it… the why and how of walking as part of the Basic Reset. If you have any questions, you have my email.